17 Arrested in "Black Lives Matter" Protest - NECN

17 Arrested in "Black Lives Matter" Protest

Protesters blocked traffic in Downtown Hartford Monday night on June 8. (Published Monday, June 8, 2015)

Seventeen people were arrested in a peaceful protest at the Old Statehouse on Central Row in Hartford.

Alan L. Benford, 54, of Manchester, Anthony L. Bennett, 49, of Bridgeport, Sofia W. Buyniski, 59, of Colchester, Jan M. Carlsson-Bull, 72, of Middletown, Debra Cohen, 63, of Wethersfield, Christopher J. Doucot, 47, of Hartford, Vanessa Gonzalez, 40, of West Hartford, Brian M. Kavanagh, 71, of Hartford, Cornell Lewis, 65, of Bloomfield, Robin McHaelen, 60, of Manchester, Matthew B. Mclaughlin, 30, of Hartford, Jessica Offir, 50, of Coventry, Joshua M. Paweler, 46, of Glastonbury, John L. Selders, 52, of Hartford, Angela Swagner, 64, of Kensington, Oshun-Anna M. Vicente, 46, of Hartford and Michael T. Walton, 39, of Bridgeport were arrested in the "Black Lives Matter" demonstration.

Police responded to Central Row and Market Street at about 4:01 p.m. after receiving a call about the demonstration.

"It looks like the Ferguson National Response Network chose the capital city to have one of their Black Lives Matter rallies today. It's kind of classic sort of civil disobedience right now where folks are volunteering to be arrested," Maribel La Luz, a spokesperson from Hartford Mayor Segarra's office, told NBC Connecticut early Monday evening.

More officers were required as the demonstrators defied police orders to "disperse," so 17 were arrested, police said.

"This demonstration included an act of civil disorder by the participants who held hands while standing in the crosswalk blocking eastbound and westbound vehicular traffic on Central Row, greatly impeding travel during the traditional onset of the evening commute," according to a news release from Hartford police.

Officers blocked off the area and worked to restore the "vehicle traffic and the commuter traffic," La Luz said earlier in the evening, acknowledging that "it's a headache and kind of a pain for folks who are driving or on a bus."

A Facebook account under the name Moral Monday CT posted a Facebook event page for the protest.

Organizers asked that people keep it a peaceful protest.

Cathy Rion, of West Hartford, said "we want to remind ourselves here that it is not safe and it is not comfortable and we need to keep fighting until every single life is valued."

“It’s a message that is really important and easy to say and harder to figure out what do we do about it," Rion said. "And we need to have real conversations.”

There were no altercations or confrontations between the protesters and officers, La Luz said earlier Monday evening.

"Everybody is volunteering to be arrested, so this was a planned event. It was coordinated ahead of time," La Luz said earlier in the evening. "So there's no issues that we're aware of other than the headache of the commute itself."

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